BackgroundWe aimed to evaluate gadolinium ethoxybenzyl diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the detection of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and dysplastic nodules (DNs) compared with dynamic multi-detector row computed tomography (MDCT), and to discriminate between HCCs and DNs.MethodsEighty-six nodules diagnosed as HCC or DNs were retrospectively investigated. Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI and dynamic MDCT were compared with respect to their diagnostic ability for hypervascular HCCs and detection sensitivity for hypovascular tumors. The ability of hepatobiliary images of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI to discriminate between these nodules was assessed. We also calculated the EOB enhancement ratio of the tumors.ResultsFor hypervascular HCCs, the diagnostic ability of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI was significantly higher than that of MDCT for tumors less than 2 cm (p = 0.048). There was no difference in the detection of hypervascular HCCs between hepatobiliary phase images of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI (43/45: 96%) and dynamic MDCT (40/45: 89%), whereas the detection sensitivity of hypovascular tumors by Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI was significantly higher than that by dynamic MDCT (39/41: 95% vs. 25/41: 61%, p = 0.001). EOB enhancement ratios were decreased in parallel with the degree of differentiation in DNs and HCCs, although there was no difference between DNs and hypovascular well-differentiated HCCs.ConclusionThe diagnostic ability of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI for hypervascular HCCs less than 2 cm was significantly higher than that of MDCT. For hypovascular tumors, the detection sensitivity of hepatobiliary phase images of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI was significantly higher than that of dynamic Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI and dynamic MDCT. It was difficult to distinguish between DNs and hypovascular well-differentiated HCCs based on the EOB enhancement ratio.